Sunday, December 8, 2013

A model for continued fracking operations

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If there is a model state for sustainable oil and gas drilling operations, the current bet is Wyoming. The state encourages oil and gas companies to continue with their fracking operations to extract natural gas, but requires them to do so carefully.

Without a doubt, fracking operations and harvesting natural gas lead to significant economic gains. However, as environmentalists fear, the economic boon could be offset by the dangers the method poses to the environment. Done improperly, fracking could adversely affect the clean water supply in a particular area.

For many states, the choice is between a clean environment and energy. For the energy-friendly state, however, there is a need and desire for both. Wyoming currently ranks at around fourth among states in natural gas production. How has it achieved balance?

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Recently, state legislators approved another energy production regulation issued by Wyoming. It involves one of the country’s strongest requirements for testing water wells around drilling sites to address fears of water contamination due to drilling operations. Previously, Wyoming also became the first state that required the disclosure of some of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. It also recently implemented a measure that required drilling companies to monitor air pollutants at oil and gas production sites.

Implementing a regulation after another may give the impression that Wyoming is making operations hard for oil and gas companies. The aim, however, is to keep the oil and gas industry running smoothly.

Environmental groups are asking for more change but in comparison with other major oil and gas producing states, Wyoming is ahead with its regulations.

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Dr. Ali Ghalambor is the author of the “Well Productivity Handbook,” a reference for petroleum engineers for modeling oil and gas production wells. For more updates on the natural gas industry, visit this Twitter page.

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